Heat moves me to seek water.
The river now beckons me,
she calls and every cell of my body
toward the water.
A lazy leaf floats by
in lifted expectation.
I am the buoyant leaf
I am also fluid, contained.
I find a small pool with slower water
and allow myself
to float in the glistening, listening.
And as my native water meets river
the dialogue begins
until I’ve greeted shore to shore.
Swallowed by reverie,
I become river.
(Diane Meyer, personal journal entry, November 22, 2012)
Knowing Watercolor and Bruce McGrew
Apache Hill, Oracle, AZ • watercolor • 22 x 30, Bruce McGrew
The second thing I learned from McGrew was redemption. McGrew gave me the tools and the courage to go back and retrieve myself within the watercolor and then rescue my muddy splatterings when they had gone completely to the dark side. He taught me how one finds light in the murky bottom of a lake (or water can), and from these experiences I gained the resiliency I needed to keep painting until spirit latched on, and the distant shore revealed itself.
Through Bruce’s influence and introduction there have been many ancestors who showed up to help carry me across the vastness of the white blank page, among them were Paul Cezanne, John Singer Sargent, Henry Miller, and Berthe Morisot. Bruce himself must have relied on their echoes and in turn made sure to leave his own as inspiration or guiding lights within our struggles as artists. Most likely he muttered these same words to himself while he worked. Those of us, who were so fortunate to have heard, will never forget.
Quotes from Bruce McGrew, accumulated from class notes and personal conversations between 1975-1983:
- No poet, no artist of any art has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his
appreciation is the appreciation of his relationship to the dead poets and artists.
- Things can be laid in flat, but the relationships are what make them move.
- If you put the energy in the stroke, you will do the bamboo rather than paint the
- Can you find a way to get the brushstroke to be its own movement rather than
fulfilling an idea?
- You make shapes of what the water does, you don’t duplicate the water.
- Light should move independently of the object.
- There’s a time when you just have to walk away.
- Contemplate the mystery and paint it.
- The miracle is the invention that fits the experience: that is you.
- Sit until you can be a part of it; look until you see.
- The painting you start out to do is the painting you find.
- Create a window of light, a tempest of movement, a way out!
- It takes no less than everything.